I believe this essay has many different meanings. I take it to be discouraging because they describe the long lives tortoises have compared to ours. Almost making us seem small. However, it also shows at the same time, how big we are. Hummingbirds have such fragile, short lives compared to us. Making us seem big. My favorite line is "We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart". I agree with this because no matter how much other's affect us, it is ourselves that affect us the most( our hearts).